General Electric is leaning on 15 YouTube stars to kick off a digital campaign focused on sustainability.
GE recruited YouTubers like iJustine, Smosh and Brittani Louise Taylor to craft videos on the "ecomagination" campaign theme of "Tag Your Green." The work aims to increase consumer action around conservation. The creators will challenge their audiences to come up with a green-related task for them to complete in a subsequent video. People are also encouraged to participate by submitting photos to Flickr on the themes of earth, wind and fire.
The social effort is the latest installment of GE's long-term "ecomagination" effort that kicked off Sept. 20 with TV spots and print ads. It includes short Web films about how GE is using technology to promote a cleaner environment, rich media banner ads and an interactive Web series called The GE Show.
The campaign, crafted by BBDO, is part of a renewed consumer push by GE, which typically skews its advertising heavily to businesses.
"Two years ago we weren't targeting consumers to the degree we're aiming our message [at them] now," said Judy Hu, global executive director of advertising and branding at GE. "We're broadening our target base."
The YouTube stars all disclose that their videos are part of the GE campaign. They weren't given scripts, but only a brief to make videos that challenge people to lead a greener life, according to Jason Liebman, CEO of Howcast, which crafted the YouTube program.
"They had to weave in green," he said. " We gave them very broad scope to do what they do in their tone and their voice."
The goal of the push is to get 10 million YouTube views of the clips. Some YouTubers have already posted their kick-off videos. Taylor's has garnered over 250,000 views since she posted it on Oct. 4. The video iJustine posted the same day has over 230,000 views.
"Many of these YouTubers have dedicated followers," said Hu. "They have people who go online everyday and look at what they talk about."
It isn't the first time GE has leaned on YouTube stars, which bring to the table not just creative chops but a built in distribution network with their YouTube subscribers and Twitter followers. In February, it ran another program with Howcast that used six YouTubers to make videos about healthy living as part of its "healthymagination" push. Combined the clips received over 12 million views.
"What we really love about it is people seem to engage in a new way for us," said Hu. "We thought we'd take it one step further with this effort."
Howcast, which specializes in instructional videos, is crafting six how-to videos around the theme. Some of them include "How to Be an Eco-Badass" and "How to Live Like a Pioneer." The company has also made seven 10-15 second "quick-tip" videos to act as pre-roll ads. Those include "How to Store Leftovers" and "How to Improve Fuel Efficiency."
The campaign runs through the end of the year.